Klaus vom Hofe


Show us your apps

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In 2018, Google Play and App Store are both celebrating their tenth anniversary. The two software marketplaces generated huge demand. The little mobile helpers that we call apps were to become a central element on our smartphones. So when better to ask a simple question: how have apps changed your life?

Lena Raschke

Find people who can show you around a new city: the GetYourGuide app helped my colleague Lena Raschke locate a guided evening bike tour of Bangkok and a street-art tour of Berlin.

The App Store and Google Play sales platforms were launched in 2008, offering such apps as "TuneWiki" for singalong fun, the revolutionary barcode scanner "ZXing" and a fun game controlled via the iPhone's built-in motion sensor called "Super Monkey Ball", among many other mobile applications. The demand was enormous. On the first weekend after the launch of the App Store on July 10, 2008 alone, Apple recorded ten million downloads. At the time, Apple was offering more than 800 apps, of which 200 were free. Compare that with the position less than nine years later, as of the end of October 2017, when its customers could choose from among more than two million apps. Google Play had more than 3.5 apps available, according to market analysts working at "App Annie". Many apps won over the hearts of their users straight away, including an app that put the phone display screen into a drinking glass filled with virtual liquid. But futurists are now predicting that the little tiles on smartphones and tablets will soon make way for inputs via voice command: Goodbye to apps, mice and keyboards.

But something that's already happened is that our mobile helpers have transformed our everyday life. Let's take the example of travel. Eight out of ten Germans have used a weather app, and one in four has used an app that displays map data. One out of five have booked a hotel or car rental using a mobile app, as the German digital association Bitkom found in a consumer survey. According to the research, there is still plenty of untapped potential for translation and travel guide apps.

But now, at the start of Apple Store and Google Play's anniversary year, what I would like to know from you is the following: what app has most impressed you or influenced your life? What was so funny, interesting, helpful or transformational about it in your daily routine or broader existence?

Let me get the ball rolling: my first experience with apps was when I discovered that I could simply download an app to tune my guitar – for free. Up to my discovery, not being very savvy on the topic at the time, I had long been mulling over buying a specialized gadget for the purpose. But such devices were now a thing of the past. That was a Eureka moment for me, when I realized how apps had the power to turn industries inside out ...

Please post your experiences on the topic as a comment under this blog. Thanks very much!